RACIAL INJUSTICE

Psalm 143, Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
A Psalm of David
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
    give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
    answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued me,
    crushing my life to the ground,
    making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old,
    I think about all your deeds,
    I meditate on the works of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, O Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
    or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
    for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Save me, O Lord, from my enemies;
    I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me
    on a level path.
11 For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life.
    In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
    and destroy all my adversaries,
    for I am your servant.
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The pain, suffering, and rawness of the racial tensions in our communities across this country over the past almost two weeks has had me at a loss for words. This Tuesday was “Black Out Tuesday” a social media movement of solidarity. I marked the occasion by listening.

Friends from around the country spoke. All seemed to be trying so, so hard to contribute to the conversation, to help us move forward. These were friends of all socio-political backgrounds, from all ethnic and racial heritages, from all classes. It was a lot to take in.

The devotion today is not a direct response to the Psalm, but rather a companion for reading. I’m not here to break it down for us and explain it away. Instead, my devotion is a playlist – a mix-tape, if you will. This music has been a travel companion as I have been reflecting on my own interactions with race relations, mentors who walked me and friends who have challenged me, and how I feel called by God to live.

There are moments of “language” in this playlist. This is not a church music soundtrack; the songs have been carefully chosen for the complex emotions they evoke, and have been taken on the whole. If offended by language and difficult cultural references, this may not be for you, and it is certainly not child-friendly.

It can be accessed here and if you do not have a Spotify account, it is no worry, I have also provided the list of songs so that anyone can access the music in a way that is most conducive to your personal taste and preference.

 

-Rev. Jeremy Jinkins

How to “Read” this music
I encourage simply reading the Psalm and reflect on it to the music offered. The playlist is structured around We Shall Overcome, in three recordings: the first is a version sung at Mass for Jimmie Lee Jackson in Selma; the second is done by Louis Armstrong; the final sung by New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen in Belfast. Sandwiched between the first and second are a series of songs by African American artists. Each are directly connected to civil rights, either the movement itself, or in response to the pain in its arrested state. The second stays with the theme of yearning for a change, but from a different perspective. None of it is an answer, but it has been a companion in these days reflecting on the Psalm, my own prayers, the prayers for this community I so love, and for all those hurting today.
MESSAGE FROM FAITH FORMATION

Faith Formation received the following email from Rev. Leslie Dobbs-Allsopp, Interim Presbytery Leader for Elizabeth Presbytery. We urge each of you to consider participating in the 21 Day Racial Equality Habit Building Challenge as a way of educating ourselves to better understand what is going on in our country.

 

Friends, my heart is heavy. God’s beloved world seems to be on fire with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the murder of George Floyd, and the subsequent rioting across the country. I am yearning for a pocket of peace, but these are not peaceful times. God calls us to respond: "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” I am from Kentucky, a Civil War border state with a disastrous racial history. I grew up in an environment where racism was a given. I believe racism is the original sin of this country, and as a white person I have participated in that sin, of which I am ashamed and for which I am sorry. We know that racism is evil, and we know that God calls people of faith to resist evil.
It is not the job of people of color to educate white people about racism. It is my responsibility to learn and grow and change.
Today I’m following the Rev. Tracey Henry’s lead, and I’m beginning the 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge, which you can find at www.eddiemoorejr.com/21daychallenge.
There is another version of this challenge, hosted by Myers Park Presbyterian Church at www.myersparkpres.org.
Rev. Leslie Dobbs-Allsopp
Interim Presbytery Leader for Elizabeth Presbytery